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4 Huge Reasons Not to Sell By Owner

4 Huge Reasons Not to Sale By Owner

4 Huge Reasons Not to Sell By Owner

Gone are the days of easy selling and financing. HA! Believe me, it was never easy.

1. Real estate transactions are more regulated and more complicated

The real estate market has consolidated since the 2008 bust. Just like the lending and banking industry.  As a consumer you have less choices. That’s unfortunate. It’s harder to do a deal. Because you probably don’t buy or sell homes on a daily basis you don’t understand the real estate industry nor how it operates.  This is the number 1. factor for not trying to sell by owner.  Financing and appraisal issues are again killing deals.  You chances of completing a successful transaction are very, very low in today’s world.

2.  The Internet does not sell your home

Everyone and anyone is on the Internet today, would you not agree? With so much content and mis information your home is competing on third party sites that use your home as content to sell advertising. You are competing against every home listed in the world. Even if you’re showcased you are competing agains millions of properties. It’s hard to find a needle in a haystack. In fact, most internet leads are bad and most are looking to rent or look at home design or decoration ideas from you, your personal residence.

It’s a proven fact that 96% of homes sales are made by a buyers agent not the listing agent. Why? Because they work with serious home buyers & listing agents work with serious home sellers. A local Internet strategy, direct mail and the local MLS will sell your home quicker and for more money. Third party sites are far from the real MLS.  Technology is robust and accurate and there are local buyers and agents prospecting your home for a fast sale, 24 hours a day. No third party site required.

3.  Open Houses are opportunities for listing agents to prospect and use your house to gain more leads

If you do for sale for owner, open houses are not the answer. Why open your house in this day and age and not know who is going to come? Open houses are an open opportunity for thieves to prospect you home. Safety is another concern. On the other side, open houses are good for qualified buyers to research a neighborhood.

4. Using an agent will get you more money – How much?
A Lot!

I recently had a client that was approached on a business property. She was solicited directly from an investment group looking to buy up a block on Central Expressway. There are many solicitations done this way. They want to buy wholesale or discounted. They throw a number out and if you like it you take it. Instead of finding out the retail value of a property and working that angle. On this particular deal, they lost $200,000. by not finding out what property is really worth.  The fact is an investment group will go low and can afford more. This happens all the time. It’s worth the extra time to find out the retail price of your property.

The infographic above is a great visual to share if you like. The negotiating part is the hardest. Remember,  you have to sell your home 3 times:  to the buyer, lender and appraiser. Homes prices have not caught up with price increases so you might have to appeal an appraisal and that’s a totally different topic. The points above are valid if you don’t know the real estate market. On the other hand, if you know what your doing, by all means give it a shot!

Here’s a free resource guide for sellers if you’d like to know how to navigate the real estate market.

How June became National Homeownership Month

June is National Homeowners Month

Celebrate National Homeownership Month 

Did you know that June is National Homeownership Month?
And it’s an official national holiday? Who knew?

A Little History

It started back in 1995 during the Clinton administration as a week – long celebration.  In 2002, President George W. Bush made June National Homeownership Month.

Here’s a link to the proclamation.

This is even more important today as our nation is still healing from the real estate bust.  Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and the values necessary for strong families.

It’s a huge responsibility and not everyone should be a homeowner.  The market continues to be demanding and competitive and will remain so for a while.

Taking the time to educate yourself on the financial responsibilities of owning a home is a good place to start.  Finding a great real estate agent to discuss the correct process is imperative in today’s market.

If you’re thinking about buying a home and don’t know where to start here’s a free home buying guide.  It’s deals specifically with today’s market and what you need to prepare for purchasing a home.  It will save you time and money.

Guide to Buying a Home – Spring 2014

It takes time to find and buy the right home.  Don’t ever feel pressured to do something you’ll regret. Coming home to something you own is one of the greatest achievements anyone can attain.

And paying off your mortgage is next. It’s possible to create real estate wealth this way.  This is a great reason for celebrating national homeownership month!

Smart Home Search

Why Use Smart Home Search?

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of listings?  There’s so much duplicate content on third property sites and status information is not accurate. That’s bad especially in a tight market with fewer homes available. I know frustrated buyers can feel my pain. I get calls every day about bad listing data.  It’s just not right!

Custom Home Searches could be the answer to get there first.  You know how important it is!  A local source has the newest listings.  You might not know this but not all brokers or agents feed their listings to the large portals anymore.  In fact, many have stopped the last few years…

Big D. Dream. Discover. Dwell.

What is a Radius Home Search?

It’s a search that shows homes for sale within a certain distance of a specified point.  It could be your work address or school address. If you want to live close to family then enter a home address.  It’s an excellent way to shorten your commute.  Which is a number one criteria with all our clients.

I have built Radius Search pages on our sites to make it easier to find homes close to schools & work.  You can do this too by entering any address and it will automatically give you the Latitude and Longitude. Then you specify a distance from that point for listings to appear in the search results.

You can also pick other criteria like price range, bedrooms, features and more. Go the the home search page enter your city and other criteria. Then go down to line 5 and click radius and enter the address and miles (.5 to 20 miles) for your radius search. Voila – instant results!

Why Search for Listings within a Certain Distance of a Known Location?

  • Find homes for sale near friends or family.
  • Seniors needing to live close to medical care.
  • Urban home buyers wanting to be where it’s at!
  • Desire to be near a certain town or location, you can compare pricing for homes a little farther out.
  • Minimize commute time to work, #1
  • Locate near a landmark, biking routes, lake, hiking trails, parks and so on.
  • Close to private schools, major highways, businesses, employers, shopping and more.

One search I built last year that has been very popular:  Homes within a 2 mile radius of Shops at Legacy.  This radius search will show you all listings around the Shops.  Shops at Legacy only have apartment rentals and luxury townhomes for sale.  So if you wanted a single family home “close to the scene” this search would be ideal. You get the idea.

Below are a few searches I set up for you to try.  Hopefully,  they will make your home searching process faster & easier!  Smarter is better! Don’t you think?

Dallas Major Employer Home Search within 1 or 2 miles

Dallas Private School Radius Search within 1 or 2 miles

Dallas Lifestyle Searches

Plano Radius Employer Homes Searches

Plano Lifestyle Searches

Frisco Quick Custom Searches

If you know someone who can use this search please feel free to share this post.  I have added many extra features to our home search page that you can’t find or do anywhere else.

Real Estate Tax Extenders from the “Fiscal Cliff” Episode

Real Estate Tax Extenders

Now that the “Fiscal Cliff” has come and gone, how did Real Estate fair in the negotiations?

Actually, real estate did OK with some tax extenders.  Better than your pay check reductions…

Here’s a summary of the real estate related provisions of the bill in case you’d like to know.

  1. Mortgage Cancellation Relief was extended for for 1 year till January 1, 2014
  2. Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) for filiers making below $100,000 is extended
    through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
  3. Leasehold Improvements – the 15 year straight-line cost recovey for qualified leasehold improvments on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.
  4. Energy Efficiency Tax Credit –  the 10% tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy efficiency improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.

Information is from the Metrotex Association of Realtors in Dallas and if you’d like to read more about Pease Limitiations, Capital Gains and Estate Tax click here

The Changing Real Estate Market – Making a Strong Offer

Seller’s Market or Buyer’s Market?

Do you know what kind of real estate market it is?

Does it matter?

The truth is: It really depends on the home for sell and the seller.

Market conditions do matter and with low inventory, buyers need different strategies to work during the home buying process.

What helps to make your offer look better?

1.  Get pre-approved for a mortgage. That means all your docs have been turned in and vetted by a bank or mortgage broker.  You are ready to close.  Get a pre approved letter to submit with offer.

2.  Always put in a back up offer if you’re in a multiple offer situation.


Behind the scenes deals are falling apart during the option period for various reasons.  If you submit a back up your offer will become a contract as soon as the first contract is terminated.  Believe me, it happens more than you think!

Year End Real Estate Deals

Why it’s a Good Time to Buy Real Estate Near Years End?

Did you know this could be the most lucrative time to buy real estate?  I know many of you slow down for the holidays and decide to pick up the home search after January 1st. Right?

One thing I know from doing real estate, is this time of year you can buy some of the best rock bottom deals. Why?

Real Estate 101

It’s something to do with clean slate, start over, time to go on and most importantly, taxes. If the real estate has been a bad investment most sellers will dump by year end because sellers, bank, relocation companies, builders might want to get properties off their books for the new year.  Really, it’s true!

Corporations will relocate employees this time of year too.  Everyday new properties are coming on the market, price reductions are being taken and believe or not price increases happen too.  Deals fall out because a buyer changes their mind or financing could be an issue.  This time of year is a good time to stay in the market so you can take advantage of the fire sales.

The 3 Most Important Things in Buying a Home

The 3 Most Important Words in Buying a Home

Buying a Home

Buying a home is complicated!  You know the saying – “the more you do something you become better at it” (hopefully) and that includes shopping and buying  a home.  The biggest mistake I see current home buyers make is “it’s all about the house” or are more concerned about the upgrades or amenities in the home than the 3 crucial words that are success in real estate.  Location + Condition + Price.

Instead of concentrating on each individual home wherever it may be, first start with picking your ideal location, for example living close to work will save gas and the dreaded commute.  Those two items are on almost everyone’s list.  Start at the beginning and see what’s available, like newer or older homes and more importantly, what you are willing to do as far as updating or projects and compromise on.  Yes, there will always be compromise!

Schools are also important for resale even if you don’t have kids.  It’s a huge deal!  Another time saver for shopping real estate is use the mapping capabilities of the internet to weed out bad locations like busy streets, rail road tracks, power lines and water towers to name a few.  You can’t trust property descriptions as being true, for example: Yesterday I saw an agent describe a property in a foreclosure neighborhood as being the best street in the development and this street faces the rail road tracks!  Lets’ not even go there….waste of time.

Two other things that will help with your search is sit down and talk to someone who knows the area front and back, that could be an agent or co worker, family or friends.  Next is drive the neighborhoods and see if it fits your criteria.  These steps will help filter the house hunting process down in a more logical manner and one home ultimately will become yours to love.  Once you pick the location, the condition of the home will determine the price range and hopefully it will have all the updates and amenities you want. 😉  And that does happen, sometimes…

The Open House Conundrum

The Truth About An Open House

Open Houses

Open Houses are great for buyers.  They’re one of the oldest marketing tools available to showcase a home but do they really sell houses?  The truth is you have a 1% to 3% chance of selling your home at an open house.  Could it happen? Yes, No, Maybe….

My question is if open houses worked so well  –  Why does a seller need a listing agent?

You could basically have an open house, make a deal and have the title company do the paperwork.  Of course, if a buyers agent was involved they would do all the paper work in addition to the appropriate title work.  In case you didn’t know a selling agent, (buyers agent) will more than likely sell your home.  The odds are 98% or better.  That’s according to the MLS and National Association of Realtors stats.

So to have an open house or not is up to the seller and listing agent.   It’s good exposure but more than likely will not sell a home.  Open houses are more advantageous for listing agents to pick up leads for other real estate services.  And with the market being off –  this is more of a tool to market a listing agent and meet future prospects – Buyer Beware!  Like I said, if open houses sold homes you’d see more direct real estate transactions and many more open houses by real estate agents than you do now.  Just saying….and that’s both sides of the equation.

The Contingency Factor

The Contingency Factor


Back a few years ago it was rare to find a contingent listing status.  Usually it meant the buyer had to sell another property first before they could purchase another home.  Today you find them often and they have different meanings.

Let’s start with first things first – What’s a contingency status?  By definition it means the sale is dependent on something else from certain things occurring to certain facts identified.  It is most widely used when a seller of a property has not sold there home first but wants to make sure they have a place to go when they do. Makes Sense? They other seller can accept a contingency, however it does take your home off the market.  But you can accept other offers if one comes along and that is dependent on the original contingency addendum agreed upon.

Now let’s take the market today, there are 16 contingent status home in West Plano.  For buyers these home are good for back up offers because many of them will fall through.  Why? Because some of these are short sales and require lender approval on the price and terms, so the process is long, say 3 to 6 months to close. Most buyers get tired and won’t wait or find something else.  Another factor is financing approval for the buyer.

What we are finding is even though you might be pre-qualified, say a month or so ago, when the loan goes to under writing the programs might no longer exist or sold out, full filled the quota for that particular program.  Also the qualifications might change depending on the lender, for example you might need more of a down payment, credit score is lower so you don’t qualify or a job loss could or has occurred.

So instead of a listing agent marking a property active option, it will be marked contingent first based upon the above scenarios which vary greatly but it’s a tool being used now to let buyers know that a back up offer will and can be taken if a better offer comes around.  Based on the economy and housing market searching for a home should include looking at all status changes on properties, you just never know and more than likely your dream home still might be available. Real Estate is fun, isn’t it?

Remember to ask about those contingency contracts.

So… Your New Job is in Dallas?

Where to Start Your Home Search

So your new job is in The Big D, and you need to relocate and buy a home quickly, what are your options and what will “I get for the money?”

A good place to start your house hunt are zip codes.

Don’t know what they are?

Here is a quick run down of some Dallas zip codes to explore:

If you have been to Dallas or have family or friends that live here then you might have an idea on where you want to live. If you don’t have a clue this info could help.

I don’t know what you want to spend so here is an overview of what your get for your hard earned money.

Dallas has a wide range of price points and neighborhoods. Just like almost every urban area in the country, a re-birth is occurring and those areas close to town have seen greater appreciation than the rest of the metroplex.

The area inside the loop, south of LBJ, have seen the greatest growth, here is what your money will buy you:

If you are looking for a brand new, state of the art home 3000-4500+ sq ft. in North Dallas or Preston Hollow you will need to spend 700K to 1M plus, more in Preston Hollow because it is closer in. You will get a larger lot and matured live Oak Trees. Neighborhoods are from the 1950’s-1970’s.

There are still plenty of one story ranch homes some have been updated, some not, expect to pay 350K-600K+ for these depending on location.  You are about 5-10 minutes from town in these neighborhoods. Some good public schools, but near all private schools.

Dallas Zip codes to look at : 75229, 75230, 75220.

Directly north of downtown is uptown, this is where all the high rise condos projects are taking place, you will pay dearly to live here, 500K and up for around 2000 ft, give or take a few hundred sq ft.  Downtown proper you will find the same thing with lower price points like 200K and up, but location is questionable, meaning not too safe and areas are still trying decide what they are going to be.

Dallas Uptown Zip codes are: 75201, 75204.

Directly north of uptown is the coveted Park Cities they are actually their own townships, Highland Park and University Park, it is called “The Bubble.” (I will write another post on that one). It is actually the heart of Dallas and one of prettiest and most prestigious areas in Dallas.

You are 5 minutes from town and always exemplary schools, population is around 31,000. You will not get a large yard here and it is the most expensive address. Homes were built 1920’s,30’s, 40’s, and the new homes that are replacing these start at 1.3M and much much more. Here you will also find a excellent police dept. Just lot values are 500k and up.

Park Cities Zip codes: 75205, 75225.

Of course, there are more neighborhoods, but these communities are located in the platinum corridor with convenience to town and a commute that is easy.

You will find much better values north of LBJ with your work commute not more than 20-40 minutes and newer homes in Far North Dallas & Plano, built 1980’s and 1990’s and some new development. Prices 250K and up, excellent schools in Plano, (some of North Dallas neighborhoods go to Plano schools).

Zip codes to look at in North Dallas: 75240, 75254.

West Plano Zips: 75093,  75024 & 75025.

If you are looking for a great place to live and some real estate appreciation that still has quite a bit of room to go, Far North Dallas and Plano are it and the next ones to profit from. Here, You will find drill down searches of all these areas to review, if you want a look-see.

If you are relocating from the east or west coasts you will be pleasantly surprised of the value here, but don’t forget about property taxes, they are a big nut here and need to be considered.

This certainly is not everything but a good place to begin your Dallas home search.